Fermenting Cultures: Time, Temperature, Taste

Authors: Dolly Kikon*, Apt 321
Topics: Food Systems
Keywords: Himalaya; Food; Fermentation; Temperature
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 30
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


How do we taste and eat the story of the Himalayan region? In this presentation, I draw from my anthropological ethnographic work titled Fermenting Cultures. This ongoing work explores the politics of food in militarized zones like Northeast India, and examine how identity and the market are shaping the meaning of fermented food, and consumption practices. Focused on communities engaged in conversations about promoting fermented food as part of indigenous cuisine, the presentation moves away from large scale infrastructure projects like dams, roads, and cities. Instead, it draws attention to the microbial world where simple practices like fermenting and preserving food intimately shape the meanings of region, identity and politics. I examine how consuming fermented food and culinary practices shape Himalayan citizenship practices and identities. At a moment when we are witnessing a global movement on fermenting food, nutrition, and sustainability, I offer insights from my ongoing anthropological project to highlight the challenges of small scale non-industrial fermenting communities. Fermenting cultures is a story about regional taste and global practices, and the ways we organize, move, and order our lives, contributing to the creation of new regions, identities, and solidarities.

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